Interview with the makers of ‘WalkMe’

What is WalkMe?

WalkMeWalkMe is an iOS and Android mobile application that aims to be a guide to all hikers in Madeira Island and Porto Santo, providing useful information about the levada walks such as photos, description, map, ways to get to the levada and much more. You can use this application either for planning or during the levada walk.

Read more >>

Madeira … Walking About

We found another great (private) video about Madeira Island, filmed and edited by Dmitry Semaev.

Short interview with Dmitry Semaev:

Why the video?
“I have been to Madeira for 4 times, I’m one of those Madeira Island’s fans. Because of many stuff.”

What film equipment did you use?
“I used a Canon 7D, Lumix GH1, Gligetrack, Zoom H2.”

What do you think of Madeira?
“Madeira is one of the comfortable area to leave. It’s warm calm etc. quite safe. There are lots of gorgeous things to see. Welcome.”

Madeira … The Green Pearl of the Atlantic

Madeira, “The Green Pearl of the Atlantic”, with its spectacular variety of landscapes, the island that they say it sometimes is 6 different continents in one mini-continent. The friendly locals and the picturesque villages make Madeira a perfect island for those seeking a combination of adventure, sports, nature, sun and rest.

An island with many faces, that is Madeira. Still famous for its Levada, miles-long irrigation channels, ideal for walkers. But Madeira is more: there are beautiful hiking trails through vast Eucalyptus and Laurel Forest, “cobbled roads” between friendly villages and narrow roads on sunny slopes.

Madeira Levada Walking

In the East, Madeira Island is very woody and you can visit the many nature reserves. Middle Madeira is also known as the Rocky Mountains because this part of the island is not very easy to access, but certainly worthwhile to take the challenge. The south coast of Madeira makes you think you are on the sunny coast of southern Europe. There are many fishing villages and (pebble) beaches where you can enjoy the sun. In the west you can find a more efficient environment, but once you have arrived on the plateau above, you will certainly enjoy the beautiful view over the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The north coast is more a jungle of steep cliffs, interrupted by deep green valleys.

Nature lovers will really love this island. You can explore one of the many protected reserves or gardens for colourful flowering fauna and discover why Madeira is also referred to as ‘The Floating Garden of the Atlantic’. You could start your holiday with a trip to the Botanical gardens of Madeira located in Funchal, or the Ponta de Sao Lourenco – a peninsular located on the East of the island that boasts amazing coastal views and a variety of flowering fauna perfect for the botanist in you.

Ponta São Lourenço, Madeira island

Various secondary roads winds through banana plantations and agricultural lands, taking you higher up through forests of fragrant eucalyptus trees. The roadsides are full flowering Agapanthus, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus and Begonias and the houses, which are scarcer towards the top, have Roses and Orchids in large quantities in their gardens and/or balconies.

Tips for Walking on Madeira

Water
Ensure that you have sufficient water before starting a (long) walk (minimum of 1.5 liters per person). Check if there are any places to refuel … because walking under Madeira’s hot sun can have a similar effect as if you were walking on the Sahara. If there are no taskas (bars) or shops in the vicinity, look out for the local drinking fountains where you can find sweet, refreshing spring water.

Clothing
Always wear layers. Even in winter when you walk at high altitude … the temperature might feel cold, but sometimes you will find yourself sweating. On Madeira it is not allowed to walk around topless, ladies. Sometimes when you walk through the inner veins of the Laurisilva, thick damp mist can sneak up and the temperature can drop very fast. In that situation you will be very gratefull having some extra pullover or t-shirt or other clothing that you can cover part f your body.

Sunscreen
Very essential, especially when walking in areas with little shade such as Paul da Serra or Ponta São Lorenço. Same goes for a hat. Lets be honest …. you did not come to Madeira to visit the medical waiting room?

Footwear
If you are heading into mountainous terrain, or taking chances to descend steep forest paths … we urge that you wear hiking boots. If you want to do a walk on our natural beaches …. the we advice sturdy sandals … at least.

Time
Due to the diversity of the terrain, heights and routes … please plan your time carefully to do the walk. Include also the pauses in the calculation of the journey. Remember that you came to Madeira to enjoy the scenery … therefore calculate with a relaxing walking tempo in mind. You are not going to walk a marathon.

Walkers Wanted

A new blog Madeira Walking is looking for beginner or experienced enthusiast walkers, social walkers or solitary stroller, who have visited Madeira Island (or are living on Madeira), and wants share their thoughts, views, experiences, suggestions with fellow walkers and nature lovers.

The Madeira Walking Blog is a free consumer generated media that offers reviews and information to help travelers to plan a secure and pleasant visit to the Madeira Islands. Anyone can send their their views, stories in their own language and include photos in order for others to research potential new locations on the archipelago of Madeira for them to visit.

The goal of Madeira Walking is become a complete Nature information website, covering walks (Levadas, mountains and coastal walks), Flora/Fauna, Health &Safety, Facilities, Equipments, Traveling, Services and everything else to ensure an enjoyable visit to Madeira.

Interested? Want to repay Mother Nature for one of its beautiful offspring with the name Laurisilva by praising in words and images on the web? Then visit Madeira Walking and Join the Club.

Madeira Islands Walking Festival

The Madeira Tourism Board together with the British journalist and photographer, Terry Marsh, organizes the Madeira Islands Walking Festival which the 1st edition will take place on 15th till 19th of January this year. This initiative will be an annual event that aims to draw more walking enthusiasts to the island.

Madeira Islands Walking FestivalThe festival consists of 20 pre-designated walks, recommended by the Regional Government of Madeira Islands. The participants can choose 4 strolls per day, of different levels of difficulty and duration.

The festival gives the participants the chance to visit and get acquainted with Madeira’s natural environment and to discover the Laurissilva forest, recognized by UNESCO as an officially World Natural Heritage designation. Walkers will experience Ond Orama’s poetic words at first hand:

Middle of the mighty Atlantic lays floating garden where majestic mountains, blue sky and never-ending ocean daily meets daily. These children of Mother Nature flirts with the beautiful lady Laurisilva, who is continues under the heritage watch of the world and therefore not easy to win her heart. A romance that changes frequently …. a daily struggle that visitors contemplate at first sight when they put their first step on the island soil. Steps that take us to the Levadas, the veins of the archipelago, that dances across the mountains, cliffs and forests.

For more information of this initiative visit the official site at www.madeiraislandswalkingfestival.com

Festival Director, Terry Marsh is author of the Globetrotter Island Guide to ‘Madeira’, published in 2007 by New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd (ISBN 978-1-84537-555-3).

Sunny North

Last week both my wife and I went for holidays “abroad”. Actually it was not abroad … we went to the North of the Madeira Island, Ponta Delgada and Boaventura. But for those who live on Madeira will agree with me that the North of the island has different scenery … and it is as if you are on another island. Green mountain cliffs and rocky edge, a display that is interrupted by small villages and with the vast Atlantic Ocean guarding the coastline. Another beautiful side that the island proudly bears.

Although we stayed for just three days/two nights we have had the opportunity to relax to the max and enjoy quality time, thanks to the location, environment, people (locals) and, last but not least, the sunny weather that took place during our stay.

I will limit myself to mention the highlights of our visit to the North of the island:

Casa da Capelinha
Casa da Capelinha - view from apartmentWe stayed at Casa da Capelinha (Ponta Delgada) which took about 40 minutes drive to reach. Self –catering apartment’s complex that lies in the coastal part of the picturesque town of Ponta Delgada. Adjacent to the property and part of the complex is the newly restored Chapel of Reis Magos (The Three Kings), a small chapel (build in the 16th century) with a large historical interest.

From our apartment we enjoyed each day (and also evenings) of the magnificent view and the sounds of the Ocean echoing against the mountain coast. Even though we only stayed for two nights we find it a very nice place to stay.

For more information you can visit their website:
www.casadacapelinha.com

ER 101
Between Ponta Delgada and Boa Ventura is a small part of the ER 101 ring that curls like an elegant snake the island. This particular part between the two villages not only offers fantastic views from the coastline, but it also can give you a thrill as driver (and passenger also). This is one of the last (typical) road section that was the usual connection between the villages in the North coast …. narrow tunnels and two-ways road. The thrill increases when you notice that also (big) buses are common to encounter on your way.

Most people will think the most awful scenarios will take place in such an occasion, but this is truly not the case. Local drivers are most patient and helpful … they will manage their vehicles in such a way that you easily can pass through … or they will give indications, as most of them know these roads. The important thing is not to panic, be patient and take your time. Remember that buses and lorries often “meet” each other on that same road and … they manage to pass without problems.

L&L Casa de Chá and Moinho a Água
Sign Moinho a Agua We visited the village São Jorge, that is just 8 km away from Santana. There we followed the sign “Moinho e Serragem a Água” (Water mill) road next to the Farmácia and 600m we stopped at the local Tea House “L&L Casa de Chá”, which is also a Bar/Restaurant. The owners are very friendly, speak both Portuguese and English and, if you do not mind, they will join your table to have a chat and answer any question of the area. They have a large terrace with a beautiful view that overlooks São Jorge.

The Tea House is an excellent stop for those who are planning to do the splendid walk Levada do Rei (Kings Levada), of which the start is another 2km up the road.

L&L Tea House is located at Sítio Lombo do Cunha (Tel: +351 291 576 604)

Another stop that is worth to do is the Moinho a Água where the old caretaker of the water mill will explain (and show) how, who, why and when.

Levada do Rei

Some travelers visit Madeira Island … they rent a car … drive around for a week and at the end they say ‘we have seen everything of Madeira!’. Yeah sure! And I am Paris Hilton that just escaped and bought a property on Madeira.

Seriously … there is still a lot to discover on this, according to Google Earth, small island. For example today we went for a levada walk. It was a magnificent walk called Levada do Rei, which goes into the Ribeiro Bonito Valley. It is a “walk there and back” walk and took us about three hours.

See a slide show of the pictures I took during the walk. An image says more than a thousand words … in this case you can see more than 25.000 words.

    Levadas – man made irrigation channels that not only provides the island with precious and clear water, but also offers us with the joy and the awareness to respect the beauties that nature is (still) presenting us.


Madeira is safe, but …

Our last blog (Is Madeira Safe?) we received lots of comments from visitors that find Madeira Island a safe place to visit. However …. we did received reports that in March tourists were robbed during a walk at Levada dos Piornais east of Quebradas and the Levada dos Tornos. Information tells us that the attackers were caught, but it is still a reason of concern. These tourists went walking on their own without a guide or in a group.

In our latest Safety precautions Levada walk we advise people to do a walk in company of a qualified guide. Police advices not to walk on these levadas in groups of less than 6-8 people. In case you feel that you are capable to do the walk by yourself (without a guide), then before you do the walk please ask (at least) your tour operator what the latest news is on these levadas.